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Real Estate News

Updated: Monday, October 14, 2019

5 Questions You Should Ask About Senior Apartments

Moving to a retirement residence could be the answer to senior housing thata yoursquo;re looking for. Older seniors who are considering the next stage of their retirement have a lot of reasons to downsize into a retirement residence. Today, housing options like these offer benefits such as:

gt;gt; Active living amp; social life>

gt;gt; More convenience and greater affordability

gt;gt; Flexible care options that help seniors age in place

gt;gt; Accessibility without costly renovationsnbsp;

Finding senior apartments that will fit your needs and expectations will take research. You may want to get family members involved or make the decision independently. Whatever you do, make sure to ask lots about the facilities and get your questions answered while you take the tour. Making an informed decision will help you stay where you are years down the road. These are just some of the questions everyone should remember to ask the residence, their family, and themselves.

1. How much will it cost to live there?

Understanding the full costs of moving to and living in a retirement residence will help you put together your complete financial picture. Find out about the cost differences of different suites, as well as the cost of more intensive future care. You can also ask residences how they raise the rent; costs will have to go up to keep up with inflation.

Look beyond your immediate expenses and try to see how much it may cost years down the road.

You should also ask about how the residence might terminate a lease, or what kind of financial penalties might apply if you terminate your lease.

2. What kind of activities does the facility offer?

Find out about what kind of activities, >

3. Are the suites right for you?

Are you looking for a 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, or studio apartment? Find a residence that offers all the space you want and might need. If yoursquo;re looking for something budget-friendly, studio apartments are an affordable option. Many seniors would rather downsize their space for more convenience to walkable neighborhoods or for a more vibrant social life.

4. Are the care options you need available to you?

As you get older, the possibility that you may require care increases. Donrsquo;t neglect this fact when you are looking for a senior apartment. Make sure the place you live offers the kind of care you may need later, allowing you to age in place and remain where you are.

5. What are housekeeping services like?

One of the perks of moving into a retirement residence is shedding some of the chores yoursquo;ve been doing your whole life, including home maintenance and housekeeping. Find out if the residence offers housekeeping services to your liking.

As you prepare for this next stage in your life, you need all the information. Donrsquo;t be afraid to ask questions and get answers.


Full Story >

How to Solve an Ant Problem

If you are interested to know about how you can get rid of ants naturally, then you are at the right place. Ants can be found anywhere and everywhere. You can see a trail of ant army in your kitchen. To successfully get rid of these ants, you need to try some of the best and most effective methods.

Tips to Get Rid of House Ants:

  • Homemade Ant Bait

  • Borax can be an excellent compound for killing house ants, and at the same time powdered sugar will attract them. To make a homemade ant bait, you need to mix one part of the borax thoroughly with 3 parts of powdered sugar. You can fill the bottle caps with this homemade ant bait and place these at the places where you suspect the invasion of ants.

  • Spraying Vinegar

  • You can take a little bit of white vinegar and spray it in the cracks and on the kitchen countertops. These are the places where the ants mainly travel through or walk around for the search of food. You need to allow the vinegar to dry on the surfaces or you can also wipe it with a clean cloth. This can eliminate any chemical trail.nbsp;

  • Keep the Place Sanitized

  • One of the best ways to keep ants out of your house or kitchen is by practicing good sanitation practices. Do not let the bread crumbs and food spills to stay in the kitchen. Clean them immediately. Make sure to clean the garbage too on a regular basis. Keep the sweets in zip-lock bags or in air-tight containers so that the ants cannot get into them.nbsp;

  • Peppermint Essential Oil

  • Another great method that can deter the ants from entering into your house is the peppermint essential oil. You can either spray it all over the places where it is infested by the ants including the cracks from where they enter. You can also put some drops of peppermint essential oil in a cotton ball and place them near the areas where ants move or crawl through. Make sure to find 100 pure essential oils.


    So, these are some of the best prevention methods on how to solve an ant problem. You can try all these ways to effectively eliminate the ants from your house. All these steps can be effective, but if you still see ants in your house, it is better to call for professional help.nbsp;


    Full Story >

    Now That Its Fall, Did You Miss the Home Selling Boat?

    But that doesnrsquo;t mean you canrsquo;t offload your home now, or that you wonrsquo;t get a good price if you do. If you have to list now and you want to get your home in the best position to sell quickly and for a good number, heed these tips.nbsp;

    Make sure your home is market ready

    Buyers at this time of year tend to be serious. They may not be any more excited about buying right now than you are about selling, but theyrsquo;re in the market because of a >

    A home thatrsquo;s not in great shape is typically going to take longer to sell at any time of yearmdash;unless itrsquo;s a super bargain. When there are limited buyers out there and yoursquo;ve got competition from other area homes, your place has to show well.nbsp;

    That doesnrsquo;t necessarily mean you need expensive or extensive renovations. But a >

    bull;nbsp;Scour and tidy up

    Your real estate agent may have some other suggestions to make your home more sellable.

    Celebrate the season

    A few pumpkins, a fall wreath, a couple of candles with an autumnal scent or a simmering pot of cinnamon sticksmdash;theyrsquo;re little touches that can help your home feel more inviting and more fall-like for showings, without going overboard. Your Halloween deacute;cor may be stellar, but real estate agents steer sellers away from over-decorating so buyers arenrsquo;t distracted or turned off.nbsp;

    Put in a little extra effort for great photos

    "According to one study done by a real estate photography company, top-notch photos cannbsp;make your house sell 32 fasternbsp;than a house with low quality or average pictures,rdquo; said Homelight. ldquo;Thatrsquo;s not just for million-dollar mansions, either. The study, conducted by VHT Studios, took houses of all values into account.rdquo;

    It might be a little more challenging to get those photos in fall, however; Natural light is preferable for listing photos. ldquo;Fall and winter photos run the risk of looking drab, but well-timed summer photos are bright, clean, warmmdash;really everything you need to stand out to serious buyers. So take advantage of the seasonrsquo;s best days and include those photos in the listing when you go to sell in the fall,rdquo; said

    If good natural light is hard to come by at this time of year in your area, using a professional photographer is even more important. They will have tricks to help overcome the challenges.

    Let There Be Light

    Emphasizing the natural light in photos is one thing. You also want you home to look as light and bright as possible for showings and tours. ldquo;Retract blinds, and widen curtains, so therersquo;s minimal window coverage,rdquo; said HGTV.nbsp;

    ldquo;The windows will look bigger, and itrsquo;ll encourage daylight to flow into your space. Experiment with your lightbulbs to find the most flattering hues for your space. A bathroom looks great with daylight bulbs 5,000-6,500K and living spaces, such as bedrooms and living rooms, look best with soft white bulbs 2,700K. In general, your homersquo;s design and color palette will play a part in what looks most appealing. Go for cozy and bright. If yoursquo;re upgrading bulbs in hard-wired fixtures, consider going all LED. Let the buyers know yoursquo;re leaving the bulbs for them.rdquo;

    Be mindful of your curb appeal

    Falling leaves are inevitable in autumn. You may not be able to rake or remove every single one of them in time for a surprise or last-minute showing, but making sure you take a walk around your house every day to address any areas that need clean-up can help you from having to make a big effort when an agent calls with an interested client.

    You know what they say: You only get one chance to make a first impression. ldquo;Rake dead leaves and debris in your lawn,rdquo; said The Balance. ldquo;Dont let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cutaway summer vines and cut down dead flowers. Make the most of the autumn weather in the fall real estate market.rdquo;nbsp;

    Adding a few fall flowers is another good idea that will up your curb appeal. ldquo;The most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums or mums, and they bloom for a long time. Marigolds are another idea for fall. Both mums and marigolds are available in yellow, which is my number one home selling color. Plant them in pots. Place pots on the steps and along the sidewalk.rdquo;

    Key in on your target market

    Your agent should be able to help you pinpoint who the most likely buyers are. Armed with that info, you can tailor your home to specific target markets.nbsp;

    ldquo;If you have a hunch your house may appeal to empty-nesters, herersquo;s how to play up that attraction: Emphasize multipurpose spacemdash;for instance, stage one bedroom as a home office-cum-hobby roommdash;because empty-nesters crave flexibility for the future,rdquo; said Bob Vila. ldquo;Provide a map to points of interest within walking distance. To the extent possible, aging baby boomers wish to integrate exercise into their daily habits.nbsp;Showcase quality. Without teenagers around, empty-nesters can enjoy more delicate finishes and fine details, so give them something to brag about. They want to upgrade as they downsize.rdquo;


    Full Story >

    A Guide for San Diego Seniors Planning to Downsize During Retirement

    Costs to Include When Planning Out Your Downsizing Budget

    Remodeling Expenses

    When looking for a new home, yoursquo;re not likely to find one with all of the aging-in-place features to make your golden years safe and comfortable. So factor the costs of making those home changes on your own into your budget. You can use online tools to quickly find out how much home projects cost in your area. For instance, an average bathroom remodel runs 10,332 to 24,516 in San Diego, but project specifics can drive those costs up or down.nbsp;

    Costs of Selling a Homenbsp;

    You may have already thought about local home prices when planning your downsizing move, but many seniors are surprised by the costs of selling a home. Two of these costs that tend to take homeowners by surprise are the expenses of preparing a home for sale and the fees involved with selling a home. Closing costs can vary according to your location, but seniors should be prepared to pay for at least a portion of closing costs when selling a home. Plus, you may need to cover closing costs on your new home. The best way to prepare for these transaction expenses is to consult your real estate agent when buying or selling a home.nbsp;

    Moving Expensesnbsp;

    To help your downsizing move go smoothly, you need to anticipate all potential moving costs. A local San Diego move can cost you anywhere from about 365 to 1,255 depending on your homersquo;s size, but you may also need to factor storage costs and professional moving fees into your budget. Hiring professional movers may be an added moving expense, but having that extra help can help you avoid the headache of packing and moving heavy boxes on your ownmdash;especially since it can take time just to declutter and downsize your home before you even think about packing.nbsp;

    Things to Consider When Searching for Your Perfect Golden Years Home

    Location and Sizenbsp;

    If yoursquo;re not sure which San Diego neighborhood is best for your retirement, you could always rent a vacation home to test out different neighborhoods and home types. Per Turnkey, San Diegorsquo;s 70 miles of gorgeous coastline and mild average temperatures make it a perfect retirement spot, and test-driving homes in areas like La Jolla and Torrey Pines can help you find your perfect retirement neighborhood. There are also quite a few San Diego County cities, such as La Mesa and El Cajon, where you may be able to stretch those retirement dollars further without sacrificing access to all of the perks that San Diego has to offer.nbsp;

    Floorplan and Featuresnbsp;

    Aging-in-place modifications can make any home safer for your retirement years. These modifications are specifically tailored to prevent falls and home accidents that can reduce senior independence, all while adding comfort to your golden years home. While you may not be able to find a San Diego home with all of the aging-in-place features you need, you can look for senior-friendly design elements, such as no-step entries and slip-resistant flooring. Also, pay attention to the floorplans of potential homes, since open floor plans may make it easier to move around and provide enhanced lighting throughout all of the living areas in a home.nbsp;

    The whole point of downsizing is to simplify your golden years. So donrsquo;t let the process of downsizing and moving to a new home cause you more stress than it needs to. Keep this guide handy every step of the way, and be sure to get the help you need with downsizing tasks. These are some of the best years of your life, and you deserve to enjoy them


    Full Story >

    Why Maintenance Tracking is Beneficial to HOAs

    Schedule Preventative Maintenance Easier

    Preventative maintenance is a key component of ensuring the proper working order of all your systems and equipment. This includes things like pest control, pools, filter changes, water pipes, and monthly landscaping tasks to ensure the continual beauty of the community for your homeowners. When people are part of an HOA, they long for beautiful and serene common areas and do not like to see signs of wear and tear on their community.

    When you add a maintenance tracking program to your HOA, it makes preventative maintenance, like monthly lawn care, easier to schedule. Maintenance tracking software, like a CMMS, allows HOA property management teams to have the ability to schedule maintenance on an easier timeline. These programs allow you to input manufacturer maintenance schedule information and will automate scheduling for the team allowing management to focus on the many other important tasks.

    Reveals Drains on the Maintenance Funds

    It may not seem like it is worth the expense, but preventative maintenance is very valuable to a controlled maintenance budget. With maintenance tracking, your HOA can easily see the time and expense used on each preventative maintenance task, like servicing the water pipes or pumps on a regular basis. While it might seem like a drain on expenses to keep maintaining the pool in cooler months, it can be a task that saves money. This is especially true when you can see the cost in a maintenance tracking form that identifies that information for you easily.nbsp;

    In addition to tracking the cost and hours spent on preventative maintenance tasks like checking and changing pool filters, you can also track the hours and cost of things like repairing broken water pumps due to neglected preventative pool maintenance. This in-depth tracking allows homeowners associations, to easily give examples of why preventative maintenance is a key component of keeping track of the budget to all members of the HOA and maintenance workers.nbsp; This way you can show how monthly maintenance has saved thousands of dollars compared to the cost of having a plumber repair burst water pipes.nbsp;

    Helps Reduce Maintenance Costs

    In addition, to helping to reveal drains on your maintenance budget and remove them, you can help to reduce costs. If you have the groundskeeping crew and another separate crew checking on the various maintenance needs of your grounds, like the storm drains, you may find that two different people are being paid to inspect the same items. This will inflate costs significantly over time. To reduce this, you need to schedule maintenance tasks better based upon who is more likely to be better at doing the task.nbsp;

    With the example of storm drains, rather than send out an enti>

    Improves Efficiency of Maintenance Team

    With the addition of maintenance tracking, especially the type of software programs that allow for team collaboration and review, you can allow the team to see what places are needing more care than others. Some places will need more care and others will have fallen behind in care because of lack of oversight. However, with the addition of maintenance tracking, each team will have the opportunity to see where they have spent more time than others.nbsp;

    This additional layer of oversight takes pressure off of management and allows the teams to see how to better serve the community in their efforts. For example, a maintenance team might spend a lot of time ensuring the pristine beauty of community gazebos while only thinking of the roofing of community property on occasion. After a while, the gazebos will still look amazing while the community property roofs sit in disrepair. With proper maintenance tracking, you can see the amount of hours spent on a particular problem and adjust levels of care to ensure that all problems get the level of care they need to be perfect for your community.nbsp;

    By adding maintenance tracking you are able to change your community for the positive. It can make problems easier to see with the constant stream of trackable data. It alleviates pressure from management and allows teams to coordinate easily. Overall, if you arenrsquo;t tracking your maintenance, you arenrsquo;t being as efficient as possible.


    Warren Wu leads growth atnbsp;UpKeep, a CMMS software company that was designed to empower empower maintenance teams to make better decisions from data-driven insights.

    Full Story >

    Rules for Halloween Dcor When Selling Your House

    After a long, hot summer, the arrival of fall and everyonersquo;s favorite candy-hoarding holiday is a welcome gift.

    But if yoursquo;re getting ready to sell your home, all that deacute;cor could get in the way, and be a distraction for buyers instead of a delight. Taking a more measured approach is key; These tips will help.

    Dont overdo it

    Yoursquo;re excited about Halloween. We get it. And yoursquo;re not alone. Last year, Americans spent 9 billion on Halloween, of which 2.7 billion was spent on decorations. This year, you donrsquo;t have to put out every one of your Halloween-themed items. ldquo;You donrsquo;t want the decorations to detract from features of the house,rdquo; Kevin Lawton, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Schiavone amp; Associates in Bordentown, New Jersey, told Homelight.

    Consider your existing deacute;cor >

    If yoursquo;re planning to extend your Halloween deacute;cor into the interior of your home, be mindful of the colors you bring in. Yes, you could load up on orange pumpkins, or you can purchase faux pumpkins in navy blue and emerald green velvet to match what you already have going on.nbsp;

    Keep safety in mind

    If people are going to be walking from the street to your home, you want to make sure itrsquo;s clear of hazards. ldquo;Safety first. Always,rdquo; said Revival Property Group. ldquo;Keep the walk in front of and to your home clean and debris-free. Make sure the walkway is well lighted to avoid accidents.rdquo;

    Limit the inflatables

    Yes, your giant Halloween-themed Snoopy inflatable is adorable. But it might be best to keep it packed away in the garage this year. Unless you live in a neighborhood where most or all of the houses go all out for Halloween and your place will stand out for all the wrong reasons if you DONrsquo;T cover the lawn with blow-up stuff, itrsquo;s probably best to go a little tamer this year. And if you do happen to live in that exuberant neighborhood that warrants a parade of inflatables, be sure to keep them inflated all day. You dont want people driving by or coming for showings with a limp Snoopy spread out on the lawn. You also want to make sure that your ldquo;For Salerdquo; sign is still easily visible no matter what kind of decorations you use.nbsp;

    Do a day-after check

    That perfect curb appeal may take a hit on Halloween, so be sure to take a few minutes to look around the perimeter of your home before you leave for work on November 1.nbsp;

    ldquo;The day after the decorations go down, check your property for trash, trampled flowers and stray candy,rdquo; said Revival Property Group. ldquo;Freshen your landscape again by trimming bushes, raking leaves, washing the driveway and adding a beautiful autumn wreath on your front door.rdquo;

    Keep an eye on those pumpkins

    Like we said, there are so many ways to decorate with faux pumpkins these days. But if you insist on the real deal, make sure you check them every couple of days to make sure they arenrsquo;t going bad and havenrsquo;t turned into critter food.nbsp;


    Full Story >

    Scary Issues That Can Kill Your New Home Joy

    Buying a home is full of challenges, and the one that might be the most frustrating of all is finding out therersquo;s something wrong after yoursquo;ve already closed escrow. In many cases, you may have recourse against the seller if there is an issue that wasnrsquo;t disclosed, or against the home inspector if he or she missed something serious. But even recompense, yoursquo;re still left with a problem you have to deal with when all you want is to be enjoying your new home.nbsp;nbsp;

    Here are eight things to look for before signing on the dotted line.

    It smells moist

    If you tour a home on a rainy day, donrsquo;t automatically think that the moist smell is because of the weather. If it smells moist inside, yoursquo;ll definitely want to make a return trip when the rain has passed to make sure therersquo;s no moisture issue in the house.nbsp;

    Therersquo;s a telltale pet odor

    That could mean damage to carpet or floors. It might be something you can work out while negotiating, but you definitely want to be aware of what yoursquo;re dealing with so that there are no surprises later on, like pet urine that has seeped down through the wood floors into your sub floor, costing you thousands.

    The neighborhood is iffy

    Maybe therersquo;s more crime than yoursquo;re comfortable with or too much of a commercial presence. Itrsquo;s all about whatrsquo;s acceptable to you.

    Neighborsrsquo; homes are unkempt

    If yoursquo;re not looking in an area that has a homeownersrsquo; association, pay special attention to what the neighborsrsquo; homes look like. If yoursquo;re seeing curious paint choices, cars on the lawn, and grass thatrsquo;s waist-high, you might want to think hard about whether this is the neighborhood for you. Some buyers appreciate the character of a neighborhood but doesnrsquo;t have the strict rules governing what they can and canrsquo;t do. But a neighborhood without an HOA can also have issues when neighbors donrsquo;t take care of their homes, and this can affect your property values.

    It took you a long time to get there

    Have a serious conversation with yourself about how much is too much when it comes to the commute. If it took you an hour and a half to get there from work, is this something you can live with every day?

    Itrsquo;s dirty

    There are times when a home goes in the market and itrsquo;s clear the seller didnrsquo;t make the effort to get it in shape prior to listing. Itrsquo;s not just about a lack of updates but a lack of upkeep, as well. While you may not know the circumstances behind the home, and while it may seem like a great deal if you can get it for a good price, be cautious. A home that is in bad shape on the surface may have a bunch of issues you canrsquo;t see.

    Itrsquo;s dark in the house

    Sellers will typically open up all shades and blinds and turn on all the lights for showings, but nothing is stopping you from flipping those light switches off to see what the natural light situation is really like. If the place is dark even with all the blinds open and lights on and natural light is really important to you, it might not be the house for you.nbsp;

    Itrsquo;s too perfect

    A home thatrsquo;s really well staged can look super appealing. But buyers have to train themselves to look at the home, not the furniture and furnishings. What will the house look like without that staged furniture? Does the floorplan work for you? Are the pieces scaled for the room or for real families? Are there any curious configurations like a chair blocking access to a fireplace. Getting past the stagerrsquo;s tricks to see the house for what it is will help you to decide if itrsquo;s really for you.

    Full Story >

    Home Builders: Do They Get Buyers?

    ldquo;There is no mystery to what consumers want,rdquo; said Tim Costello, President and CEO of BDX, Inc., a provider of digital marketing and sales solutions for the home building industry. ldquo;The mystery is why our [home building] industry has been so slow in adopting this.ldquo;

    bull;nbsp;Do you want to buy a brand-new homemdash;one that nobody has ever lived in before you?nbsp;
    bull;nbsp;Are you excited about experiencing the step-by-step thrill of the build and the delight in selecting each tiny thing personally to put your stamp on the home?nbsp;

    Buying a brand-new home can be an exhilarating experience, but donrsquo;t be surprised or put-off if your contact with home buildersmdash;at least initially and digitallymdash;does not meet your expectations and draw you into this world of wonder.

    Costello went on to contrast the quality and quantity of online content that savvy buyers now take for granted when shopping online, with an admittedly-extreme but not uncommon version of home builder online offerings. To demonstrate differences in what home buyers expect from home builders versus what they find, Costello compared the depth of interactivity and >

    The difference was visually dramatic and unnervingly disorienting. The point was made, at least for this attendee. The Mixerrsquo;s multi-dimensional, engaging online profile met and probably exceeded todayrsquo;s buyer-content expectations. The barebones home-builder offering was neither dazzlingly inviting, nor did it stimulate curiosity to learn more.

    Arenrsquo;t new houses worthy of having their unique excellence celebrated to buyers at least to the degree that appliancesrsquo; receive marketing attention?

    Costello, who stressed that there are ldquo;2.5 million permutations that we actually build to create something that is uniquely [the buyerrsquo;s],rdquo; also shared BDX home-building-industry research which revealed ldquo;19 friction points.rdquo; Any one of these frictions may cause buyers frustration that can result in themmdash;thatrsquo;s you toomdash;being turned-off a builder or turning to resale homes. Common deflectors are:

    bull;nbsp;Not knowing who to trust when print and digital information do not create clarity
    bull;nbsp;Finding the new-home buying process harder than expected, and
    bull;nbsp;Not being able to visualize their desired kitchen when faced with a contrasting color and >

    When buyers hit at least one friction point, then:

    bull;nbsp;Ten percent of buyers switch home buildersnbsp;
    bull;nbsp;Buyers are twice as likely to engage a real estate professional and then 35 of those buyers will ldquo;never see a new home againrdquo;
    bull;nbsp;Buyers are four times more likely to buy resale Which helps explain why 90 of home purchases are resale homes.

    If you let go of long-held dreams of a new-build home because builder online postings arenrsquo;t interactive phone-friendly resources, model homes donrsquo;t say it all, or you have to push to be heard, you may be doing yourself and your family a disservice by giving into frustration:nbsp;

    bull;nbsp;You expect to find all you need online and to have 24/7 access to ask questions and discuss details.nbsp;

    The Fix: Ask who does know whatrsquo;s going on. Go up the management chain if necessary. Persist until you discover a >

    bull;nbsp;You expect home-building companies and builders to be authentic.

    The Fix: The problem is many home builders are being authentic, just not in the online way yoursquo;re used to. Decide what this means to you and what would resolve the quandary.

    bull;nbsp;Home builders are in the business of building homes, not in the business of building parallel online experiences of what a home will be like to design, have built, and to live in.

    The Fix: Ask how can you acquire the degree of detail you require to proceed. Who ldquo;getsrdquo; what you want to know or see?

    bull;nbsp;You live in a ldquo;digital-firstrdquo; world, phone at the ready.

    The Fix: Not all homebuilders understand the significance of this fact. What do you want from home builders so you can trust them and make confident decisions throughout the buying process?

    Two Sides to Home Buying

    The two home-selling industriesmdash;resale and new homesmdash;are two very different real estate industries, with two very different histories, and two very different buyer journeys:

    bull;nbsp;How Does It Work? The resale industry appears to listen to buyers. Resale real estate professionals strive to meet and exceed communication expectations, online and off. Have resalersquo;s digital efforts spoiled buyers for less interactive, less phone-friendly new-home purchasing?

    bull;nbsp;Who Is Selling What? Resale professionals do not sell productmdash;itrsquo;s homeowners who are selling their home. Home builders sell their own new-home product, no one elsersquo;smdash;they are sellers.

    bull;nbsp;Digital Transformation: Resale professionals succeed by mastering communication, online and off. They are trained to convey the delights of home ownership to buyers who have never owned that particular listed house. The resale goal is to remove friction points and make the buying journey a positive, engaging experience.nbsp;

    Some experienced home builders, who have constructed homes for years or decades, may not have taken their company through digital transformation or internalized the speed at which online shopping has changed and will continue to transform real estate buying. Builders who concentrate on construction may miss opportunities to communicate in the manner buyers prefer to receive and deliver informationmdash;online and through their phones.nbsp;

    bull;nbsp;Managing Expectations: You have expectations of and experience with what your phone can connect you to. If home builders are on a ldquo;build it and they will comerdquo; track, perhaps they may not feel obligated to invest significant effort into digitally communicating what they offer and what they can do for a buyer.

    The obstacle for buyers is communication, not new home quality, nor diversity of design. New homes can be customized to deliver what you want and need. When new-build ownership or working with a particular builder matters, you may have to use different approaches to gather the new-build information you require and to accurately >

    bull;nbsp;Yes, home builders need to understand how todayrsquo;s shoppers shop online or buyers will not buy.
    bull;nbsp;Yes, home builders will benefit from meeting online-shopping expectations or theyrsquo;ll lose business.nbsp;

    But here my focus is younbsp;

    What does your dream home mean to you?nbsp;

    Do you really want to compromise your ldquo;forever homerdquo; because communicating with you, digitally and otherwise, is a challenge for some home builders?

    Shouldnrsquo;t this selling-communication gap spell opportunity for savvy home buyers?

    If you want a new build, but change your mind and search out resales that are a close match for your dream, donrsquo;t you want to be sure you are responding to what is genuinely better for you and your family, not simply reacting impatiently to having to adapt your shopping >

    Absolutely move on if your new-home research reveals that the house which can be newly built for you will not meet or exceed expectations, stay within your budget, and fit your timeline.

    Either waymdash;new build or resalemdash;what you learn in the process will turn you into a buyer to be reckoned with.


    Additional Resources:

    For an insider view of the home building industry:nbsp;

    bull;nbsp;Herersquo;s the link to the 54 minute webcast referred to in PJrsquo;s article: ldquo;Technology in Homebuildingrdquo;nbsp; The segment featuring Tim Costello of BDX begins at 29:42 -25:11.
    bull;nbsp;BDX University mdash;ldquo;a resource for builders to explore the latest tips, trends and eventsrdquo;nbsp;
    bull;nbsp;BUILDER Online mdash;ldquo;provides home builders with home building news, home plans, home design ideas, and building product information, helping them manage their home building operations efficiently and profitably.rdquo;

    For professionals: ldquo;Get Out of Your Own Wayrdquo;hellip;visit PJrsquo;s blog: Whatrsquo;s Your Point?nbsp;

    For buyers: Visit PJrsquo;s ldquo;Decisions amp; Communitiesrdquo; Realty Times blog for more tips, suggestions, insightshellip;.For example:

    bull;nbsp;Construction Nightmare?nbsp;
    bull;nbsp;4 "Big Regrets" to Avoid When Buying a Home


    Full Story >

    The Basics of Down Payment Assistance Programs

    While that may not sound like very much, and itrsquo;s certainly a lot less than 20 percent down, 3.5 percent of 300,000 is still 10,500. This is on top of closing costs and cash reserves. First time buyers save money each month to go toward a down payment. But there are Down Payment Assistance Programs available in most areas. Where do you apply for down payment assistance and how do these programs work?

    Down payment assistance can come in the form of a grant. A grant is actually free money. It does not have to be paid back. Most such grant programs do ask the borrowers to own the home for at least three years after at which point the grant is forgiven. A grant is typically reserved for first time home buyers and lenders will independently verify first time status.

    Although the lender will ask if someone is a first time buyer, the existence of a mortgage showing up on a credit report will also be dated. However, if the mortgage is more than three years paid off, some grant programs consider the applicants to be first timers. Grants have no monthly payments during this period.

    Down payment assistance can also be in the form of a second mortgage. A second mortgage is a loan that is recorded and subordinated to an existing mortgage. The existing mortgage is the one that finances the home. A down payment assistance second lien can carry a very low rate or even no rate at all. At the end of a specified period, typically three years, interest can accrue, and payments are due. Like a grant, such programs also require the borrowers be first time buyers.

    Down payment help can come as a tax credit. A tax credit, commonly referred to as a mortgage credit certificate, or MCC, reduces the amount of income tax someone pays which in effect increases monthly income. Tax credits are typically issued through state and local governmental agencies. Itrsquo;s the mortgage company that can provide a list of providers. This is something you want your lender to help you with.

    How much money will you need? Your loan officer will provide you with an estimate regarding how much yoursquo;ll need to come to the closing table with. This is also depending upon the type of loan program you select, other financial resources and any assistance from the mortgage company. While the mortgage company wonrsquo;t typically offer the program and service the loan, the mortgage company can help out with closing costs which would then funnel more money toward a down payment.

    Full Story >

    Top Remodels and Renovations That Actually Pay Off

    People are fascinated with having nice homes.nbsp;What about when itrsquo;s time to sell? Is it worth remodeling or renovating your home before putting it on the market?nbsp;

    Letrsquo;s take a look at remodels and renovations that actually pay off when itrsquo;s time to sell your home.nbsp;

    Remodels vs Renovations

    First, you should understand the difference between remodeling and renovating.nbsp;

    Renovation is required when something is in disrepair. Replacing rusty pipes or a leaky toilet in the bathroom is a renovation.nbsp;

    When you remodel, things may still be in great shape, but you want them to look different. That toilet is working just fine but you decide to swap it out for a more modern >

    Pros of Remodeling

    Your home may be in great shape, but that orange shag carpet in the rec room will narrow your pool of interested buyers. Outdated or bold accent colors or >

    In a slow market, it can be even more challenging. Removing these elements and replacing them with something more neutral can improve your chances of a faster sale mdash; and for a higher price.nbsp;

    Cons of Remodeling

    Unfortunately, there are few remodeling projects for which yoursquo;ll recoup your entire investment. If your goal is to raise your asking price, remodeling is not the way to do it. You could end up spending more money than it raises the value.

    Plus, remodeling is a huge inconvenience. Your home could be torn apart for weeks and yoursquo;ll have workmen tromping through your house all day.nbsp;

    If yoursquo;re going the DIY route, be prepared to spend more weekends on the project than you think. Remodels are always more expensive and take longer than you think they will.nbsp;

    Pros of Renovation

    Many buyers donrsquo;t want to deal with repairs. By renovating the home beforehand, yoursquo;ll have a larger pool of buyers to work with. This can facilitate a faster sale.

    A newly renovated home can also fetch a higher price. Necessary repairs can substantially lower the price buyers are willing to pay for your home. Plus, homes that sit on the market for longer tend to sell for less.nbsp;

    Cons of Renovation

    There is a better ROI for renovations than for remodels. However, depending on what is necessary it can still get expensive.nbsp;

    Remember that selling a home can be expensive. If you donrsquo;t have the cash on hand for renovations, it may be better to take a lower sale price and skip the expense of renovating.

    As with remodeling, renovations require workmen tromping through your house for days on end or hours of your free time spent on DIY projects.

    Most Valuable Remodels amp; Renovations

    There are times when the effort put into updating your home pays off. So how do you choose projects that are worth it?nbsp;

    Look for projects that are inexpensive >

    Curb Appeal

    Within 30 seconds of seeing your property, buyers start forming their opinion of the home. Simple things like raking up leaves or cleaning Fidorsquo;s treasure off the lawn can have a big impact. Try adding window boxes full of flowers to liven up the space.

    If the siding or roofing is in disrepair, consider renovating the exterior. While these are big projects, they can have a significant impact on your ability to sell.nbsp;

    Unresolved problems like these can scare buyers away. If you do get an offer, they can slow down your home sale as the buyer may ask you to complete the repairs after seeing the inspection report.


    Painting projects, whether interior or exterior, are excellent ways to boost your homersquo;s appeal. Paint is inexpensive, especially when you do it yourself.nbsp;

    For the interior, choose light, neutral colors. This helps the space appear bigger and brighter as well as appeals to a variety of personal preferences. You want buyers to be able to envision themselves living in your home. Your beloved bold purple accent wall in the den might look great but if your buyer hates purple with a passion it could cause you to lose the sale.

    Be sure to repair any dings in the walls and donrsquo;t forget the ceiling.


    The kitchen is an important room. Everyone loves to eat and this is where the deliciousness comes from.nbsp;

    However, an expensive kitchen remodel has a bad ROI. It adds value to the home, but not enough to warrant the cost. Plus, your idea of a designer kitchen may not match your buyerrsquo;s idea.nbsp;

    However, there are a few updates that are worth the trouble.nbsp;

    Reface dinged-up cabinet doors. This is a much cheaper option than replacing them.nbsp;

    Update old appliances with modern, energy-efficient models. Buyers love the prospect of saving on their monthly energy bills. However, stick with the low- to mid-range models. Fancy, high-end models likely wonrsquo;t fetch the same return.


    The bathroom is another spot that buyers will pay close attention to. Again, designer updates normally donrsquo;t bring a high return. However, a minor bathroom remodel is beneficial.nbsp;

    Update the tub and replace the fixtures to give the room some extra sparkle. Thoroughly clean up any moldy areas.nbsp;

    If your tile is still in good shape, consider replacing the grout. This will freshen the appearance of your tile without having to replace it. Most mildew and soap scum build up in the grout anyway.

    A Market-Ready Home

    When is your home ready for the market? It depends on the state of your home and the current market conditions. Talk to a local real estate expert to get an idea of what the market requires in your area. While most homes can benefit from a few renovations, most large remodels will not be worth the cost.nbsp;

    These remodels and renovations will actually pay off when yoursquo;re ready to list your home, but you should always figure out the cost before you take on any home improvement project.nbsp;

    Feel free to continue browsing our blog for more fantastic real estate tips and tricks


    Full Story >

    Tips to Buying a Home Out of State

    Buying a Home Out of State

    The first step you should do is hire a buyerrsquo;s agent. Buyers Agents are incredibly useful in assisting you in the home buying process in general, but especially if you are looking to purchase a home out of state. In addition to knowing your new area, they can also:

    - Build a solid >- Represent your best interests, without disclosing any personal information
    - Help you make the right decision on a property.
    - Often enough, they know the neighborhood well and can show you around the area.

    How to Find a Buyers Agent Out of State

    Generally speaking, most buyerrsquo;s agents are referred to by friends, family, and co-workers. However, buyers in a new area usually donrsquo;t have the resources to get a trusted referral source. Here are a few things you can do to find a buyerrsquo;s agent in another state.

    1. Perform a Web Search

    One of the best ways to find a buyers agent who specializes in your chosen region is by doing a quick online search. To do this, enter a specific keyword following the formula: chosen neighborhood/area buyers agent. This will help you to locate all of the agents who work in your chosen neighborhood. You can also use niche searching websites like and On these sites and others like them, agents from around the country can create their own profile to draw in new business. You can easily find an agent or an exclusive buyer brokerage that only handles buyer representation.

    2. Visit Open Houses

    The agent who is hosting an open house may be the listing agent or they may be a buyers agent. Chat with them to ask what their job is. An open house provides a great opportunity to talk to a buyers agent and learn more about them. Ask for a business card if they appear to be knowledgeable and you get along together. From there, you can head home and gather more information about them by scanning their website. Check out how many homes they have sold and read reviews from past clients. If they still seem like a good fit, give them a call.

    House Hunting Out of State

    Your real estate agent can email you with daily or weekly updates about new homes for sale in the area and price reductions straight from the MLS. Most, if not all of these listings will contain plenty or photos and a virtual tour. If you see a home that you are interested in, you can email the agent to obtain more information. All communications can be completed through emails, phone calls, and faxes.

    Then, if you so choose, you can visit your chosen destination and view a few of your top favorite homes in person. If you are unable to see the homes in person, that is alright as well. You can get a feel for the home on a virtual tour and sign all the paperwork electronically.

    Simultaneous Closing in Different States

    If you are buying a home and selling your current home in different states, it can be almost impossible to orchestrate a simultaneous closing. Many banks will refrain from funding a loan for an out of state buyer until they receive the HUD on the sale of the buyerrsquo;s current home. Typically this is how the situation plays out:

    1. The sale on the buyers current home closes.
    2. The funds are wired to the closer who is handling the purchase of the buyers new home. The HUD is then faxed to the bank.
    3. The lender funds the new purchase.
    4. The new home closes. You can begin making moving arrangement, obtaining homeowners insurance, getting a home warranty plan, and more.


    Full Story >

    Choosing the Right TV For Your Home


    According to Digital Trends, modern TVs are now incredibly consistent when it comes to picture quality across different sizes. If all else is kept the same between the TV yoursquo;re looking for, size is completely up to your personal preference. Make sure to measure your space and consult with any other decision-maker in your home before you purchase.

    High Definition

    nbsp;Image quality has progressed a lot in the last several years. Almost every TV out there is some form of HD now. The tricky part is digging deeper into HD. Make sure to take a good look at the actual number of pixels your prospective TV displays in. While the standard 1080p is pretty great, there are now TVs that display in Ultra HD or 4k, which is 4 times as many pixels. If yoursquo;re looking to make the transition into higher pixel HDTVs, pay a local store a visit to see if the difference is visible to your eyes. Then yoursquo;ll have to decide if the price point is worth it.

    I am part of the school of thought that most TVs nowadays are plenty good in terms of screen resolution. However, I recently started using my small non-fancy flat screen TV as a second monitor for my computer and noticed that the resolution was too low to display some of my text documents and spreadsheets legibly. If you plan to do something like that, yoursquo;ll want to check and make sure you have the screen resolution you need.

    LED or OLED

    LED TVs are generally more popular than OLED because they offer great quality for a lower price. OLED TVs are top-of-the-line, so if you need the absolute best picture quality available or just love being on the cutting edge of technology, go for an OLED. LED TVs have everything that most TV watchers need, so if yoursquo;re just a recreational viewer, you should be just fine with a standard LED TV.

    Refresh Ratenbsp;

    The refresh rate of a TV is usually expressed in Hertz Hz. This refers to the number of times the monitor will rebuild the image in a second. At 120Hz, the screen refreshes at 120 frames per second. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother your images will appear.


    There are tons of extras available on TVs anymore. Some of the standouts fall within the Smart TV realm. If yoursquo;re considering a TV with ldquo;Smartrdquo; features, yoursquo;ll need to make sure your internet connection is strong enough to take advantage of them.

    There are also a lot of options to make your TV smart which only require an HDMI port. If you stream your shows frequently, something like a Chromecast or Roku will work great and might save you a lot of money on buying a fully ldquo;smartrdquo; TV.

    Even with all of the innovations that have come out over the years, most TVs are still accessible for the hearing-impaired. If you or a family member is hard of hearing, most TVs and channels are still integrated with captioning services to make the viewing experience more accessible and enjoyable for all.

    When buying a new TV, there are a lot of options to consider. Try to keep it simple and only be picky on the features that will really make a difference for you and your family. If you spend too much time agonizing over features that you didnrsquo;t know existed, yoursquo;ll just end up frustrated and confused.

    Full Story >

    Mortgage Loans: What You Can Do On Your Own and What to Leave to Your Lender

    Yoursquo;d be surprised about how much it takes to get a loan from application status to final approval. There are multiple steps involved and many of these steps canrsquo;t be taken unless a previous step has been completed. To help, borrowers can take on some of the load to help streamline the entire process. There are some initial requirements that borrowers must complete without the assistance of anyone else. Applicants are required to complete a loan application. That can be done with the assistance of the loan officer, but most often itrsquo;s the sole duty of the borrowers.

    Borrowers are also asked to provide certain documentation upfront before the loan gets too much further into the process, like providing paycheck stubs and tax returns, for example. But when it comes to third party services, there are some limitations on what the borrowers can and cannot choose. For certain credit documents, borrowers are not allowed to provide their own credit report. Itrsquo;s the lenderrsquo;s job to run credit. That certainly makes sense as to why a borrower canrsquo;t provide a separate credit report. The lender orders the credit report as part of the initial package. A credit report and credit scores are one of the first things ordered to see if the loan can be approved as requested.

    Lenders provide a Settlement Service Provider List, or SSPL, which lists third party service providers the borrowers can select. Title insurance, for example, is one such service. Lenders can open up title but so too can consumers. Title insurance is indeed insurance and protects interested parties from fraud and previous claims of ownership on the property. States regulate insurance companies so itrsquo;s likely that title insurance from one title company to the next will be the same. For areas where the title company also works with a settlement service provider, the title company can also suggest the closing agent. Services that the borrower can order independently of a lender are listed on the initial Loan Estimate.

    But the twist with this is the borrower really has no experience selecting one title company over another. Title insurance is a mortgage lender requirement. Lenders order title reports day in and day out. Borrowers ra>

    The fact is that while borrowers can choose some third party providers on their own, itrsquo;s often best to leave that up to the individual lender. Mortgage loan approvals can have different requirements for different situations and sometimes a full appraisal isnrsquo;t even needed. Instead, an automated valuation model is accessed which arrives at an appraised value based upon digital research regarding sales of homes recently sold in the area. Itrsquo;s the automated approval that dictates whether an automated valuation model, or AVM can be used, or a full appraisal is required.

    Lenders establish working >


    Full Story >

    Hot Wallpaper Trends to Transform Your Space

    ldquo;Wallpaper is one of those things that fell out of the zeitgeistmdash;hard,rdquo; said >

    Todayrsquo;s wallpaper is a world away from the stuff people went running from decades ago. The ldquo;revival,rdquo; as >

    Wersquo;re taking a look at a few of the biggest trends.

    Go deepnbsp;

    Wallpaper trends this year have embraced deep, rich hues including ldquo;navy blue shades, burnt red, mustard yellow, and forest green,rdquo; said Prime Walls. ldquo;Colors can affect the mood of the space, and dark color tones are no exception. Lighter colors tend to create a welcoming, optimistic aesthetic. Darker colors create a cozy atmosphere and depending on the chosen color, can range from romantic to mysterious.rdquo;

    Bring in some texture

    Yes, deep, rich color can transform a space, giving it moody appeal and allowing deacute;cor to stand out. But therersquo;s something satisfying about a subtler approach, said House Beautiful. ldquo;Translation: Beige does not have to be boring. That is, so long as there is real or perceived texture, interactions with light, or even a two-dimensional design. That means using textures like grass cloth and faux suede, ldquo;which are particularly well-suited for the color-averse. These will bring depth a space without insisting upon the spotlight.rdquo;

    Manage metallic

    You can bring in metal in all kinds of areas in your housemdash;lighting is the obvious choice for a glam touch. But going metallic on such a large expanse is boldmdash;just like the patterns the golden, silvery, or coppery colors adorn. This gold and blue wallcovering is a standout, ready to transform a dining room or create a haven in the bedroom. We also love this contemporary, art deco-inspired gold geometric wallpaper from Home Depot that ldquo;gives walls the appearance of a glistening mountain scape.rdquo;

    Go graphic

    ldquo;Create a feature out of a recessed wall with graphic wallpaper,rdquo; said Deacute;cor Aid. ldquo;This is a great way to craft a warm and inviting nook; perfect for a kidrsquo;s bedroom, a reading area, or a grand master suite. An area like this doesnrsquo;t need to be filled with busy and bold wallpaper, it can be simplistic, while still giving you the desired effect of a well-decorated, cozy space.rdquo;

    We love this Pick-Up Sticks Wallpaper from Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines, which is not only chic and subtle, but also easily removablenbsp;

    Embrace the palm

    "Whether embroidered on a pillow, perched askew in a vase, or replicated on wallpaper, palm imagery is a major trend right now,rdquo; said Elle Decor. ldquo;The look is lush, natural, warm, and most importantly, versatile. With palms, your surrounding design can be opulent and raised to the heavens or more down to earth, an organic oasis."

    You cant go wrong with House of Hackneys Palmeral print, which references 1930s Palm Springs with its ldquo;explosion of palm leavesrdquo; and chic black and green color story.nbsp;

    Just do you

    The great thing about wallpaper is how it can make a space come alive and speak to your individual taste and >


    Think kitschy


    Wallpaper also offers an opportunity to have a little fun. This Hipsters Paradise print from Y.S.D. London print ldquo;takes you on a jaunty trip into the most happening streetmdash;care to suit up and join in with the best dressed in all the city?rdquo;


    Want a daring, fun look without the commitment? This Drop It MODERN Femmecopy; Wallpaper from West Elm gives off a Picasso-ish vibe and is removable, for when the whim passes and its time to go in a different direction.nbsp;


    Add interestnbsp;


    Buyers love new construction for so many reasons, but brand-new spaces can sometimes lack character. ldquo;This brand-new townhouse at Pierhouse, Brooklyn was a gorgeous space, but was crying out for some personalization to reflect our clients vivid, sophisticated and lively design aesthetic,rdquo; said threshold interiors on Houzz. ldquo;Bold patterns and colors were our friends in this fun and eclectic project.rdquo;nbsp;


    Full Story >

    Paint Colors that Help You Sell Your House Backed By Science

    But before you buy gallons of paint at the hardware store, itrsquo;s important to choose your colors wisely. According to a Zillow study, certain colors can help you sell your home mdash; and for a bigger price tag mdash; while others could leave you seeing red.nbsp;

    How can painting help you sell your house?

    When done effectively, a well-staged mdash; and painted mdash; home invites prospective buyers to imagine themselves living there. A fresh coat of paint covers the scrapes and marks that inevitably come from daily use, making a home appear fresh and new. Paint can also create a more open and inviting home. Using the same paint color in adjoining rooms gives the illusion of space. Likewise, darker colors can close off rooms, making them appear smaller.nbsp;

    Neutral colors offer buyers a blank canvas mdash; a place where they can move in and make themselves at home with their own furniture and >

    Herersquo;s a breakdown of what colors could put more money in your pocket when you list your home.

    Paint Colors that Scientifically Sell for More

    The color potential begins before a buyer ever steps inside a home. ldquo;Greigerdquo; exteriors mdash; a mixture of gray and beige mdash; sold for 1,526 more than homes painted white. At the same time, houses with a charcoal or black front door sold for 6,271 more.

    While it may be tempting to bulk buy paint for your homersquo;s interior, the Zillow study found that buyers may prefer variety from room to room.nbsp;


    While the on-trend kitchen wall color varies from year to year mdash; with pale yellows selling best in 2017 and light blues in 2018 mdash; one constant has been in cabinet colors. Tuxedo cabinets gave sellers the most bang for their buck. By pairing light upper cabinets with dark lower cabinets and kitchen islands, homeowners saw an average of 1,547 more in their home sale. Try painting the top tier of cabinets white with a dark navy or black paint below the counter. Put a light color on your wall for more contrast and to give your room a welcome pop of color.


    Buyers are looking for a >


    When it comes to setting a tone for bedrooms, prospective buyers are looking for peace and serenity. Blue is a calming color, and homes with blue-tinted bedrooms sold for 1,856 more on average. Look for a matte soft cerulean blue accented by white baseboards or light natural wood to create the ultimate Zen setting that will send the homeowners off to a restful dreamworld.

    Dining Room

    We arenrsquo;t done with blues just yet. Zillowrsquo;s study found that blue dining rooms earned an average of more than 1,926 during a sale. This time, go for a more gray- or slate-blue color to make a clean and formal room for hosting dinner parties. A word of caution. If a blue dining room isnrsquo;t your >

    Living Room

    Branch out in your living room with a light taupe color on your walls. Taupe living rooms netted an average of 2,793 more than white walls. Go for a warm tan with pink or peach undertones. If you want an accent, pick a darker, complementary shade.

    How to Choose the Best Paint Colors for Your Home

    Ultimately, when it comes to painting your home to sell, itrsquo;s best to leave personal preferences aside. While you may love your barn red kitchen, leaving it that color could cost you. Zillow found that red kitchens sold for 2,310 less than white kitchens on average. Likewise yellow exteriors went for 3,408 less.

    You should also avoid picking colors because they are this yearrsquo;s hottest tone. While avocado might have been the height of sophistication in the 1950s and 1960s, by the 1980s, everything was mauve and teal. Going with a more neutral color palette will speak to more buyers and give your home a timeless, >

    To choose the best neutral color to help your home sell, draw inspiration from your surroundings. If you live in the Southwest, sandy neutrals will pair well with your surroundings both on interior and exterior walls. You might also consider checking other listings in your area. If you see homes with certain wall colors selling faster than others, yoursquo;ll have a good idea. To save yourself the research, you can also seek out the advice of an experienced agent who will tell you more about expectations in your local market.

    Itrsquo;s also important to remember that some Homeowners Associations have strict rules about color, particularly with exteriors. In some cases, you could be fined for painting outside of their requirements, which will also affect the bottom line. If you belong to an HOA, find out if they have suggestions on paint color.

    Whatever you decide for paint color, know it can pay to do your research before you invest the time and elbow grease into your home.


    Full Story >

    Baby Boomers Unprepared for Retirement? An Inside Look at the Generation Gap conducted a generational survey and found that, overall, boomers are woefully underprepared for retirement, and many are experiencing financial difficulties that could put their homes at risk. The report is a jumping-off point that can provide insight into this critical portion of the population, especially as it >

    Among their key takeaways:

    bull;nbsp;ldquo;3 out of 5 Boomers have less than 100,000 saved for retirement; only 4 have more than 1 million set aside.
    bull;nbsp;Nearly one-third have struggled to keep up with housing costs in the past year.rdquo;

    According to anbsp;Vanguardnbsp;report, 45 of Boomers have no retirement savings. Perhaps not surprising given that financial uncertainty, ldquo;Close to 1 in 3 older adults donrsquo;t plan on ever fully retiring.rdquo;

    The good news is that ldquo;approximately 60 of those older than 65 are living mortgage-free,nbsp;and Boomers are expected to pass on aroundnbsp;48 trillionnbsp;in assets in the next 25 years,rdquo; they said.nbsp;

    Staying put

    The study also found that ldquo;more than half of those 45 and older want to remain in their current homes for their senior years,rdquo; which jives with a recent Chicago Tribune story.nbsp; ldquo;Baby Boomers, the 75 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are clogging up the housing market,rdquo; said HousingWire of the article. ldquo;Instead of moving to retirement communities like many of their parents did when they got older, Baby Boomers are opting to agenbsp;in place. The ldquo;near-gridlockrdquo; is keeping about 1.6 million houses off the national market, the Tribune story said, citing anbsp;Freddie Macnbsp;analysis.rdquo;

    A significant portion of Boomers own their homesmdash;76, according to a study by Chasemdash;and intend to hold on to them. Part of the appeal of paying off their home, aside from living mortgage-free, is being able to pass it down to family members. Interestingly, though, some of the changes they are making to their homes to make them more comfortable for advancing age may not be attractive to those who stand to inherit the places. Talk about a generation gap.nbsp;

    ldquo;An older bathroom retrofitted with grab bars is ra>


    Full Story >

    Dont Miss These Top Home Design Trends in 2020

    Prep Pantries

    Similar to butler pantries of the past, prep pantries are closed-off utility spaces designed to accommodate countertop appliances. This allows the kitchen itself to continue as an attractive hub for entertaining. The benefit of a prep pantry is that you can use it to prepare food out of sight from guests rather than prepping everything in your kitchen.nbsp;

    If the kitchen is located near an attached garage, as many are, the prep pantry may occupy or share the space of the mudroom. Keeping the mess out of view gives you more room to focus on what matters, such as entertaining guests or hosting a >

    Command Centers

    Say goodbye to designated computer centers and kitchen desks. Now that the world has gone mobile, itrsquo;s all about the command center.nbsp; The ldquo;command centerrdquo; is an easily accessible space designed for storing tablets, chargers, and smart home control devices. Command centers can also serve as a base camp for backpacks, keys, loose paper files as well as a family calendar and chalkboard for writing notes and reminders.nbsp;

    The best place to put your command center is an out-of-the-way spot near your front or back door that is easily accessible for family members - a mudroom near the garage is an ideal location. You can also dedicate counter space in a laundry room as a command center ndash; or space in a large foyer. Organization is key and a family command center can help you achieve it.nbsp;

    Current Home Trends That Will Continue in 2020

    Along with the new home design trends for next year, here are some current trends that will continue to remain popular in 2020.nbsp;


    Being environmentally conscious is in vogue, and more people are beginning to examine their impact on the planet. ldquo;Eco-homesrdquo; or ldquo;eco-housesrdquo; are designed with the environment in mind, incorporating low-impact materials and technology to reduce their carbon footprint. An eco-home typically has the following features:

    bull;nbsp;A window-to-wall ratio of less than 30 percent
    bull;nbsp;Heavy insulation
    bull;nbsp;Tight building envelope to prevent unwanted air leakage
    bull;nbsp;Energy-efficient HVAC
    bull;nbsp;Water-efficient plumbing and appliances

    Zen Dens

    With mindfulness and meditation on the rise, homeowners are becoming more cognizant of incorporating mindfulness into the home. As the name suggests, ldquo;Zen Densrdquo; are rooms or spaces that are specifically dedicated to tranquility. Zen den offers a respite from 24/7 social nature of open floor plans. Zen dens may serve as a place to do yoga, meditate, or simply escape from too much activity and noise. Expect to see meditation pillows, yoga mats, candles and soothing decor in these spaces.nbsp;nbsp;

    High Ceilings

    If yoursquo;re limited on space area-wise but you still want the feel of a big home, a high-ceiling house plan may be exactly what you need. High ceilings give the illusion that a house is larger than it actually is. Tall ceilings also promote a sense of openness mdash; in a chaotic world, we can all use a little more of that.nbsp;

    Flex Spaces

    Homeowners are becoming more deliberate with their spaces, and sometimes, this means having a dedicated space for whatever you want. A ldquo;flex spacerdquo; is a designated room or space in the home that can accommodate the homeownersrsquo; needs on a day-to-day basis. Need an office during the day, but also want to work out in the evenings and weekends? You can have both with a flex space. Flex spaces can also serve as art studios, childrenrsquo;s playrooms or reading nooks mdash; the only limit is your imagination.nbsp;

    Open Floor Plans

    Open floor plans offer a sense of freedom and spaciousness without compromising on actual square footage. Open floor plans also provide a sense of cohesiveness rather than using walls to close off different areas of the home. Typically, an open floor plan will include the living room, kitchen and dining room as one large, open area.nbsp;

    These top house design trends of 2020 demonstrate that homeowners want to make space for things that personally matter to them. Whether itrsquo;s self-care, family bonding or being more environmentally sound, these trends prove that a home can serve as a reflection of onersquo;s values.


    Tim Bakke is Director of Publishing for With more thannbsp;30 years of publishing experience in magazines, books and online,nbsp;Tim regularly writes on house plans, home design, new home construction, home remodeling and achieving your dream home.


    Full Story >

    Co-Living Projects a Rising Trend in Canada

    Co-living is a rising trend in Canada, says the new Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2020 report by PwC and the Urban Land Institute.

    ldquo;Blending features of apartments, dorm rooms and hotels, co-living accommodations offer residents the opportunity to have their own space within common areas at a more affordable price,rdquo; says the report. ldquo;Some developers are developing multigenerational co-living projects, in which separate buildings accommodate the needs of a particular generation, but there is also common community space shared by all residents.rdquo;

    Node, which operates rental co-living spaces in the U.S. and Europe, recently announced plans to build a 38-unit building in Kitchener, Ont.

    Node founder and CEO Anil Khera, who grew up in Toronto and now splits his time between Canada and the U.K., says, ldquo;We have big things planned for Canadardquo; and hopes to enter every major Canadian city one day.

    The company says co-living embraces ldquo;the three Crsquo;s of cost affordability, convenience and community.rdquo;

    The units reduce costs with smaller, efficiently designed units and by making use of shared communal spaces. Itrsquo;s convenient because the units come move-in ready, with all the furniture in place. Utilities, including high-speed wi-fi and smart home technology, are included. The company says the sense of community is fostered in the communal amenities, which include co-working space, a residentsrsquo; lounge and an outdoor patio area.

    Node also offers a community curator, who assists with roommate matching and co-ordinates social and volunteer events.

    ldquo;Kitchener is the perfect destination for Nodersquo;s first Canadian community,rdquo; says Khera in a news >

    The project will house about 50 people in the 38 units. Starting rental prices will be 1,000 per month per person sharing a two-bed unit and ldquo;upwards of 1,600/month for a one-bed unitrdquo; the company says. Leases will be 12 months with ldquo;flexibility given to tenants who have to >

    In Ottawa, Common and Dream Unlimited are planning a 252-bed project named Common Zibi. It will be part of a 34-acre master-planned community.

    ldquo;Cities are facing similar housing challenges throughout the world ndash; urban populations are rising, and housing supply is not keeping up,rdquo; says Brad Hargreaves, founder and CEO of Common, which is based in New York. He says Commonrsquo;s entrance into its first city outside of the United States ldquo;is a testament to the growing need for high-quality rental housing options.rdquo;

    The 24-storey building will include both co-living suites and traditional apartments, along with shared lounges and large shared kitchens, community rooms, in-unit laundry, a roof deck and a gym. Rents are expected to start at about 1,225/month for a one-bedroom in a co-living suite. The company says thatrsquo;s 31 per cent less than the market rate for a one-bedroom unit in the area. The rents for the traditional apartments will start at about 2,065/month.

    The rental rate includes utilities, high-speed wi-fi, weekly cleaning of shared spaces, shared kitchen and bathroom supplies and hospitality-grade amenities, the company says.

    Hargreaves told REM: Real Estate Magazine that in traditional shared arrangements, roommate disputes often focus on details such as who is going to buy supplies. ldquo;One person is always going out and buying the toilet paper,rdquo; he says. Shared supplies eliminates the problem. The company also takes care of lease arrangements, utility bills and rent cheques to make life easier for tenants, he says.

    The Emerging Trends report says that ldquo;despite the continued desire of many people to own, much less stigma is attached to renting than in the past.rdquo;

    It says, ldquo;Another important aspect of these trends is the blurring of lines between property types and uses. In the past, for example, office space was designed and built to address traditional notions of office-based work. But the new environment, shaped by technology and customer preferences, is changing that approach significantly. With access to a good wi-fi connection, a traditional office is no longer necessary. Once again, flexibility is key as form follows function.rdquo;

    But Hargreaves says in the companyrsquo;s 30 co-living buildings in seven U.S. cities, 85 per cent of the residents work at a traditional office. ldquo;They are not students or freelancers working from home,rdquo; he told REM. The median age of the tenants is 30.

    ldquo;Much like the introduction of cloud computing revolutionized the software sector, the rise of real estate as a service REaaS is transforming all areas of real estate,rdquo; says the PwC/Urban Land Institute report. ldquo;Although co-working is the most common example of REaaS, the concept cuts across property types. As the gig economy becomes more prevalent in Canada, all space ndash; whether residential, office or retail ndash; will increasingly be viewed as a service that is rentable.rdquo;

    The report says that in the growing movement toward temporary spaces, some consumers now focus more on the monthly cost than the total purchase price of a property.

    ldquo;While affordability is a factor, the REaaS trend also goes back to changing consumer behaviours as people look for more flexibility as their life>
    Full Story >

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    Updated: Monday, October 14, 2019

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